“Ward of Wisdom,” New Era, Mar. 2005, 12
Daniel Harbuck had a spark of inspiration one day. He had caught a ride home with one of the older members of his ward. And she was telling him some great stories about her life. He asked Sister Marba Zabriskie why he had never heard these stories before. She told him that the young people weren’t interested.
“Not interested!” Daniel thought to himself. “Here I was hanging on her every word, and she thought no one was interested.”
That’s when Daniel had the inspiration. Why not get the teens in his ward to spend an evening with the older members of the ward, over refreshments, and listen to their stories?
He talked with his friends and priesthood leaders, and they all liked the idea. Soon invitations were sent to 11 older members of the Monument Park 11th Ward of the Salt Lake Monument Park Stake. They all met at the meetinghouse during Mutual activity time. Two or three youth were paired with each individual. Someone was assigned to take notes. The visits turned out to be a lot of fun—for the teens and the older members. They talked about all sorts of things. And best of all, they ended up finding some new friends.
Cami Perrier, 17, interviewed her neighbor, Teddy Fullmer. Cami says, “I live right next door, and I didn’t know all this about her.”
Teddy loved talking as well. “It was such an ego trip to have some young people actually listen to me. I’ve been thinking about one question in particular. They asked, ‘What was your happiest moment?’ It was fun reliving that time of my life. We really didn’t know each other, although I’ve been around them since they were born.”
Daniel Harbuck and Miguel Peña, both 18, interviewed Ferron Forsgren. They were impressed that he could once type 100 words a minute, wore racing goggles when he drove his first car, and had some good advice about impressing young women. Brother Forsgren also told them how he gained his testimony of the Church and how he has been active all his life. They found out that Brother Forsgren still plays tennis at the age of 87. Daniel says, “That’s the kind of guy I want to be when I’m older.”
Whitney Fullmer, 16, interviewed Henry and Fay Ellerman and found out that Brother Ellerman loves to golf and has made three holes in one. Their advice to Whitney was to get a good education and stay close to the Church.
After talking to Neva Paschal about her childhood, Jason Carrell, 17, learned to appreciate what he has. “She didn’t have a lot of things growing up and considers what she now has as great luxuries.”
The words of advice from these older members of the ward are what the youth remember most from their visits. It’s sound advice: pray often, stay close to the Church, work hard, get a good education—and listen to your friends, especially those in your ward.
These are a few questions the Monument Park 11th Ward youth used in their interviews with the older members of their ward. You can also ask your parents or grandparents these questions.
Do you remember any major historical events?
What was the happiest time of your life?
What were your favorite things to do as a teenager?
What was a date like when you were young? How did you meet your spouse?
What would you change about your life?
Have you had any life-changing experiences with the gospel?
Do you have any advice for us today?